It might seem ideal, sitting in a beautiful theatre listening to extremely talented musicians play through short excerpts of music written by acknowledged geniuses of classical music composition. But it is a long process that isn't usually entertaining. Just about everyone deserves to be there. I wish for each to do well, even after a disqualifying gaffe renders the remainder of an unfortunate someone's audition moot. I am not so old and entrenched that I can’t remember a time when I was in their position, “sweatin’ to the oldies” in a different sort of way. Occasionally a candidate will appear who is in way over their head and our job is made easy.This is when I am thankful for the renovation of the Tennessee Theatre and gaze up at the ceiling with its big, beautiful, blue and gold omelet made of Fabergé eggs. I am also thankful for the screen that ensures anonymity for candidates and committee members alike.
Eighteen violinists have strutted their stuff on the stage and now it’s time to winnow the field down to a handful. Just about all of the committee is on the same page when it comes to strengths and weaknesses. Three players are deemed to stand head-and-shoulders above the rest, but that is a narrow field from which to choose, so we revisit some of the close calls. After a bit of discussion, the field is upped to five acceptable candidates. In the final round we are rid of the screen and can see what we are hearing. It is valuable to know what these players look like when they play; posture, demeanor and other somewhat intangible factors. Resumés are made available also, to learn of a player’s training and experience. We take note of gaps in employment and amount of experience.
In the end we have chosen three players who are a good fit according to sound, experience and attitude. It is difficult to say no to some who were close but not close enough. That long flight or drive home is somewhat poorly but surely tempered by the fact that merely being a finalist is resumé fodder.
Stay tuned for the official word on the new players.....